The pandemic didn’t just force us to be homebound for a year but also made us so busy 24 hours don’t seem enough. Working from home turned out to be more difficult than we thought. And though the crisis hurt many businesses, it also sprang new opportunities. As such, startups emerged here and there, making us entrepreneurs and professionals more loaded than ever.
If home-buying is one of your plans this year, chances are it got pushed back until we reached November, and you’re nowhere near your goal yet. Thankfully, home-buying doesn’t need to take up a huge chunk of your time. You can’t do it in an instant, but the process can be quicker than you anticipated. And you only need one tool: the internet.
Below are the tech-savvy hacks to make home-buying fast and safe:
1. Browse Real Estate Websites
Instead of calling your homeowner friends or industry insiders, use the internet to gather advice. Many websites provide insightful tips about the housing market and real estate investment. Money Saving Experts, or simply MSE, is full of financial advice that helps people make financially sound decisions in life. If you’re buying a home for the first time, that website may contain all the information and guides you need.
When you’re ready to buy, browse websites like RightMove or Zoopla. They’re listing sites that categorize properties by their prices. They make house-hunting easier for buyers on a budget. If you’re looking to rent only, both websites allow you to contact a letting agent.
2. Get Your Credit Score Online for Free
If you’re getting a mortgage, lenders will look at your credit score to decide your level of creditworthiness. A credit score is a three to four-digit number that determines your credit risk level. The higher it is, the more worthy you are of a loan with favorable interest rates. In the UK, the credit score that’s considered good depends on the credit reference agency. In Equifax, the perfect credit score is anywhere between 811 and 1,000.
A score between 617 and 810 is considered “very good,” while anything below 617 is just “good.” In Experian, the perfect credit scores play between 961 and 999. They don’t consider any score “very good”; a 960 to 881 is automatically just “good.” Lastly, in TransUnion, excellent credit scores are 628 to 710, and good scores are 604 to 627.
The score you’d get is based on your loan and payment histories. Hence, if you’re always on time with your payments, your credit score likely falls in the excellent or very good category. You can get your exact score for free on Noodle, while the top three agencies offer an initial free period.
3. Hire Mortgage Broker
With your credit score ready, your next step is finding a lender. But that can be challenging and time-consuming, given the number of lenders in the market. To save time, consult an experienced mortgage broker. A mortgage broker will match you up with lenders that can offer you the best terms. The biggest advantage you’d get from this is the possibility of getting special rates from a lender.
That’s because some of the best lenders exclusively work with brokers so that they’ll get only the most worthy clients. If you make it to that cut, it means you’re deemed capable enough to repay a mortgage loan on time. This will boost your credit score in turn.
4. Search Homes from Property Websites
At this point, you already have a clear budget and specific preferences for a home. As such, you’re ready to start shopping. Browse property websites like Zoopla, Houzz, and Estate Agent Today. These websites provide the latest news about real estate, helping you determine whether you’re buying a home at a good time. They’re also beneficial if you’re planning to buy a home to rent out. Landlords can also get valuable insight from Landlord Zone and Rentround.
5. Hire a Real Estate Agent
Property and listing websites can also help you reach out to real estate agents. Hire one as you start buying, because they’d save you a lot of time and energy. Your agent will act as your representative during negotiations with a seller. They’ll help you determine whether a specific home is worth buying or not. Agents are experts in spotting invisible issues in a home, like leaks, mold, and other issues buyers are not typically alert for. Hence, they can tell if a home is overpriced or not.
When you use these hacks, though, note that the home-buying process can still be stressful. Anything that involves spending a huge amount of money is bound to give you some headaches. But at least, these hacks can make the process less tedious and risky, which is important.